Agricultural Policy

Clarity on Rules For TB Reactors At Slaughter

The FUW continues to receive many queries regarding current TB testing regulation. The rules continue to be complex and depend on factors such as where the infected animal was identified. The regulatory testing regime for a TB animal identified at slaughter are summarised below:

If a breakdown starts with a confirmed slaughterhouse case, the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) carries out an immediate check test to determine the level of infection in the rest of the herd. This is usually carried out before the culture results are received. As this test is carried out less than 60 days from the slaughterhouse case leaving the farm it cannot count as one of the short interval tests required to lift TB restrictions.

The requirements to lift restrictions in a Officially Tuberculosis Free Withdrawn (OTFW) breakdown are that the herd must have two clear tests at least 60 and 120 days after the last reactor or slaughterhouse case leaves the farm, so in most confirmed slaughterhouse cases the herd will have its initial check test followed by two short interval tests, the first at severe interpretation and the second at standard to severe interpretation.

The rationale for the policy is that the remaining cattle must have adequate time after the infected animal leaves the farm to develop a response to the TB test if they have become infected. If a reactor is found at any of the tests it resets the clock and a further two tests are required.

The above rules represent a typical situation, however as with all TB regulation it is important to ensure that all testing requirements are met. If you have any further queries regarding these rules, please contact your local County Office.

Emergency Authorisation For The Use of Asulam For Bracken Control

The Chemical Regulation Division for the Health and Safety Executive has confirmed that an Emergency Authorisation (EA) for the use of Asulam for bracken control will be issued for 2020.

There are two significant differences from previous EAs:

  • The approval applies to applications from a helicopter only. Application from hand-held (knapsack sprayers) or ground-based equipment will not be authorised.
  • For aerial spraying, the required buffer zone for surface water bodies will increase from 50m to 90m.

The implications of these changes and the information that will need to be collected to support a further EA application will be considered by the Bracken Control Group (BCG) and further guidance will be provided.

Anyone planning to apply Asulam next season must read the terms and conditions contained in the draft EA Approval document. The final version of the approval will be issued before the start of the EA period. The final version must be checked before any Asulam is applied; the BCG will aim to highlight any changes from the draft on the website link provided below.

For further supporting information, including relevant dates for the 2020 season, please click on the Bracken Control Group website.

Welsh Government Provide Financial Boost For Digital Infrastructure Ahead of Bovine EID

Welsh Government has announced funding of 500,000 pounds to support digital infrastructure developments for eligible livestock markets, collection centres and abattoirs in Wales.

The funding, which has been administered through Hybu Cig Cymru - Meat Promotion Wales, is available to small and medium-sized businesses to help the move towards a single multi-species database for traceability.

From February 1 to the 30 April 2020, businesses which are considered as Central Point Recording Centres (CPRCs) can apply for funding to improve their digital infrastructure which will support the future introduction of Bovine EID tags. Once introduced, cattle tags will be able to be scanned and uploaded to EIDCymru as is currently available for sheep.

In preparation for the Bovine EID consultation, the Farmers’ Union of Wales have undertaken a visit with DEFRA officials to an abattoir in Wales in order to explore the implications of implementing Bovine EID and to discuss cross border implications. The FUW will continue to work in partnership with the wider industry and is in the process of setting up Bovine EID farmer focus-groups to aid in efficient delivery of the technology.



Beware of Hedge Cutting Restrictions to Avoid Penalties

Farmers are being urged to remember the hedge cutting regulations which are in place as part of cross compliance to avoid a penalty on their BPS payment.

Farmers are not allowed to cut trees or hedges between 1 March to 31 August. Anyone not complying with the rules could face a hefty cross compliance penalty on their BPS payment which is avoidable.

There are exceptions to the standard rule, but only if the conditions are met can you start cutting early or late. You can also carry out hedge laying and coppicing during March providing nesting birds are not disturbed. However, we urge our members to make sure they don’t fall foul by accident.

Other exemptions include the cutting of hedgerows or trees that overhang a highway, road, track or footpath to which the public have access, where the work is necessary because the overhanging vegetation either obstructs the passage of vehicles or pedestrians; obstructs the view of drivers, or the light from a public lamp; or there is a danger to horse-riders.

Farmers are also allowed to cut or trim hedgerows and trees if they are dead, diseased, damaged or insecurely rooted, and are therefore likely to cause a danger by falling onto a highway, road or footpath.

We also urge our members to remember that for safety reasons, electricity and telephone companies are responsible for the maintenance of any overhanging trees and/or hedges which affect their equipment.

Farmers Wanted for Survey on the Impact of Stress and Fatigue in Farming

The University of Aberdeen is conducting an interview study with farmers on stress and fatigue and the influence of these factors on ‘situation awareness’.

The information will help determine the causes and effects of stress and fatigue in agriculture, especially the impact on the mental picture of the environment. Respondents will also be asked to complete a short demographic survey at the end. The experiment offers a chance for farmers to share their experiences on stress and fatigue and to help the community by building a better understanding of farmer safety.

The study can take place either via telephone or on site at your farm and lasts 30-40 minutes. Interested members must be aged over 18 and should contact Ilinca Tone via email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


COVID-19 - Important Information for our members and customers


In view of the recent outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), we’ve taken the decision to help protect members, customers and colleagues by closing all FUW offices.

All staff will be working remotely for the foreseeable future, meaning our team will be continuing with exactly the same service but over the phone/email/skype or other means of remote communication instead. 

Members and customers should continue to contact us as they would, as all our team can be contacted via the usual phone numbers. 

We will be making sure that our service levels are maintained. SAF/IACS appointments will carry on as normal but will be conducted over the phone. 

Contact details for your local office can be found here: 


Important links relating to the Coronavirus:

The TB Hub have prepared a list of FAQs regarding how TB procedures will be affected by the virus:

Red Tractor Updated Covid-19 position here:

Livestock Auctioneers Association LAA - 25/03/2020:

Business Wales (including details of coronavirus support for businesses):

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) available through participating lenders:

National Association of Agricultural Contractors (NAAC) guidance on Coronavirus:

National Milk Recording services 24/03/2020:

Senedd Research Blog: